Homeless complaints and moto stunts hit nerve in Ridgewood-based 104th Precinct

Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS

Captain Victoria Perry may be new to the 104th Precinct, but the 15-year NYPD veteran is picking up where others left off on address two issues in the command.

Free-wheeling youth on ATVs and dirt bikes, as well as a group of homeless men making a literal muck on Putnam Avenue are two of the main discussion topics at the Tuesday night Community Council meeting.

Perry’s explanation for why the young people continue to roam the streets and paths in and around Forest Park is that they’re difficult to stop. Giving chase could mean provoking the riders into more reckless behavior, so the surest way to stop them is for the public to report where the all-terrain vehicles are being stored.

NYPD also placed more barriers around Forest Park to inhibit access for some vehicles and Perry hopes to get the drop on meet-ups by monitoring social media.

“The last four years, we’ve had a problem with numerous homeless drinking, using our block as a toilet, garbage being thrown around, fighting, they get so drunk they pass out. Ambulance gets there at least once a day, I actually call it their limousine ride,” said Scott Wilson, a Ridgewood resident. “Officers do come, they try to move them, but after officers leave they come right back.”

Perry said the precinct and the Neighborhood Coordination Officers would work on work to address what they could, but that the issue is a job for programs that specialize in helping the homeless such Hungry Monk Rescue Truck.

“That’s something that we’re trying to address,” Perry said. “It’s not just the 104th, it’s a nationwide problem that they’re having with the homeless … We have our homeless outreach on it, we have [Bowery Residents’ Committee], we’ve done a lot of work with Father Mike [Lopez], we’re going to doing everything as well as your NCOs.”

One attendee told the story about how a confrontation with one of the men resulted in the cops being called on him.

“There’s schools on every block, I got three kids and the thing is when I try to take it into my hands one time they called the police on me because I came out with a bat as a dude was taking a crap right next to the minivan,” he said. “I was putting my daughter inside, he’s got his pants down to his knees. My daughter is 4 years old; she doesn’t need to see that.”

Perry said if cops are not at the location when incidents like this occur, they may not be able to resolve anything and suggested residents contact their NCOs.

“We can’t force them to take services,” Perry said.

Father Mike Lopez said his organization has serviced the homeless men in this area of Putnam and Forest Avenue, and claimed that a lot of them are living in shelters. But some of the men who loiter in that area are not homeless at all, he claims.

“A lot of the guys drinking in public and look like they’re homeless are not homeless; they just hang out with them together,” Lopez said.

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